Learning to Play the Game: My Journey Through Silence
Adult; Memoir; (Market)
Everyone has fears. A fear of the dark, a fear of heights, or even a fear of the unknown can make leading an otherwise normal life difficult. But what if you were afraid not of the dark or of heights-but of other people? What if you were overcome with paralyzing terror and even pushed to the brink of sickness each time you talked with another person-even though you wanted more than anything to be with and enjoy the company of that person? In Learning to Play the Game: My Journey through Silence, author Jonathan Kohlmeier shares a coming-of-age memoir of his young life living with selective mutism-an extreme form of social anxiety. At first as a child being so afraid that he could barely speak outside of the home, Jon's story of struggle turns triumph as he is eventually able to join the debate team in high school. From the start of his journey in kindergarten to his high school graduation, Jon chronicles his desire to be "normal"-whatever that means.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10
Plot: In this solidly plotted memoir, Kohlmeier succeeds in enabling readers to perceive the world from a terrified boy's perspective. If the narrative loses some of its tension/drama later on, it's because Jonathan becomes such a normal teenager.
Prose: The prose is one of this book's great strengths. The writing is vivid and empathetic.
Originality: The story here is original and compelling. Few books take readers so viscerally inside the emotions of a troubled child.
Character Development: Jonathan is very well rendered and readers will be invested in his story. In the latter parts of the book, readers are provided with less insight into his character, but this is due, in part, to the story's happy ending.
Date Submitted: August 01, 2017